Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review: Death by Tiara by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #13)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Laughs, characters, mystery, sub-plots
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Be prepared to laugh
Jaine takes on beauty pageants
Another delight

What a Beautiful Way to Go

I’ve been reading Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen series from the very beginning, and loving every book along the way.  This comedic mystery never fails to make me laugh at the wild situations that Jaine finds herself in.  Death by Tiara is the latest in the series, and it is just as great as the others.

Jaine’s latest freelance writing client is Heather Van Sant.  She’s hired Jaine to write lyrics for her daughter Taylor.  With visions of number 1 hits, fame, and fortune in her eyes, Jaine quickly agrees only to find out that these are lyrics that Taylor will be singing at the talent portion of the Alta Loco Miss Teen Queen America Beauty Pageant.  Jaine is a little less enthused, but a job is a job, so she accepts.

Heather pays for Jaine to attend the competition at the Amada Inn in Alta Loco.  While there, Jaine witnesses altercations and bad behavior – and that’s the contestant’s mothers.  It’s hardly surprising when someone is murdered, beaned to the death by the tiara that should have been used to crown the winner.  With the police looking at Heather as a prime suspect, Jaine must put on her part-time semiprofessional PI hat to find the killer.

These books are not as mystery heavy as some series I read.  In addition to the murder, we get sub-plots involving Jaine’s love life (yes, she actually has a boyfriend in this book), her neighbor Lance’s love life (he has a new boyfriend, no surprise there), her parents (and I think their story tops the ones they’ve had before), and her cat Prozac (involving a contest of wills over a new piece of furniture).  But there’s no need to fear, all of them are expertly juggled, and they make the pages fly by.

Before the murder takes place, we get several potential suspects and hints of motive, but we quickly get more when Jaine starts to investigate.  The spotlight shines on several believable suspects before we reach the logical conclusion.

The characters are a bit over the top to truly be believable, but that is part of the charm of the series.  We buy them as suspects and people in Jaine’s wacky world, and that’s all that matters.

Which brings us to the humor.  Between the crazy situations Jaine finds herself in over the course of the book, the lines she imagines Prozac is thinking at various points along the way, and Jaine’s first person narration, there are plenty of laughs throughout the book.  If you aren’t laughing, you will certainly be smiling.

Mixing all these elements together is a tough balancing act, but Laura has done it once again.  Don’t pick this up unless you are in the mood for something light and fun, but when you want to laugh, there is no better book to turn to than Death by Tiara.

And if you want more laughs, check out the rest of the books in the Jaine Austen Mystery series.


  1. Replies
    1. So glad to find others who enjoy it as much as I do.

  2. Spot on about this series. I think how unbelievable the characters are U.S. What makes it so fun! I normally don't like first person but this series is an exception. I can't believe she has s boyfriend. Dang it, I need to catch up!
    Maybe Jaine will just be glad she isn't writing for Flushmasters, was it?

    1. The new boyfriend is relatively new.

      And yes, the characters being over the top is definitely part of what makes this series work.

  3. ^^I wish autocorrect would work when it should instead of when it does.